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Mufti looks to Pahalgam for victory
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | October 12, 2004 23:26 IST
For Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed victory from south Kashmir Pahalgam constituency, which goes to polls tomorrow, will be a long awaited achievement.
Mufti has been in politics for more than 40 years but somehow victory in the state assembly elections has eluded this veteran politician for long.
During the 1970's and 80's Mufti tried his luck at the hustings but had to face defeat because of the overarching influence of regional National Conference (NC) during the heydays of the party's founder late Sheikh Abdullah.
Now after much water has flown down the Jhelum river and the NC is not a faint shadow of its glorious past, victory for Mufti appears to be a foregone conclusion in Pahalgam, a constituency vacated by his daughter and ruling PDP president Mehooba Mufti, who was elected to the Lok Sabha early this year.
The ruling PDP regards south Kashmir Anantnag district as its stronghold since most of the 15 seats the party has at present in the 87 member state assembly were won by it during 2002 assembly elections from this district.
Obviously as Mufti is staking his political career on the Pahalgam bypoll it is a no-holds-barred war for his party against its rival NC candidate Rafi Ahmad Mir.
The other assembly constituency of Batmallo in district Srinagar fell vacant due to the death of the sitting NC MLA Ghulam Mohi-ud-din shah. The NC has fielded the late leader's son Iran Shah in Batmallo who is pitched against PDP general secretary Tariq Hamid Karra.
Meanwhile all arrangements for the smooth and transparent conduct of the ensuing bye-elections for the assembly segments have been finalized.State Chief Electoral Officer K B Agarwal said that a mixed deployment of security forces belonging to the "state police, paramilitary central reserve police force (CRPF) will be deployed for security so that people come out and exercise their right".
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